ISBN: 1140174649 / ISBN-13: 9781140174646
Books and Bookmen
by Andrew Lang
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) ... Show synopsis This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1886 edition. Excerpt: ...his cognizance and arms, the two apes that support a shield charged with three mirrors of Truth? It is certain--La Bruyere tells us as much--that the sillier sort of book-lover in the seventeenth century was much the same sort of person as his successor in our own time. "A man tells me he has a library," says La Bruyere (De la Mode); "I ask permission to see it. I go to visit my friend, and he receives me in a house where, even on the stairs, the smell of the black morocco with which his books are covered is so strong that I nearly faint. He does his best to revive me; shouts in my ear that the volumes 'have gilt edges, ' that they are 'elegantly tooled, ' that they are 'of the good edition, '... and informs me that 'he never reads, ' that 'he never sets foot in this part of his house, ' that he 'will come to oblige me!' I thank him for all his kindness, and have no more desire than himself to see the tanner's shop that he calls his library." Colbert, the great minister of Louis XIV., was a bibliophile at whom perhaps La Bruyere would have sneered. He was a collector who did not read, but who amassed beautiful books, and looked forward, as business men do, to the day when he would have time to study them. After Grolier, De Thou, and Mazarin, Colbert possessed probably the richest private library in Europe. The ambassadors of France were charged to procure him rare books and manuscripts, and it is said that in a commercial treaty with the Porte he inserted a clause demanding a certain quantity of Levant morocco for the use of the royal bookbinders. England, in those days, had no literature with which France deigned to be acquainted. Even into England, however, valuable books had been imported; and we find Colbert pressing the French ambassador...